The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Neo-Homesteading's picture


So this is my first Introduction entry to the fresh loaf site. My name is Cat, I'm a homemaker, wife and mother of two young sons. My primary passion is of course being a mother but my real fascination is being a cook and baker. I run my own blog at, my short term goals are satisfying my families need to eat, and ideally I'd like to publish a cook book. My long term goals well... I'd like my children to be grown with fond  memories of how I tried extra hard to give them cherished food memories, for as long as I can remember I've documented things in my mind by the foods of each occasion. Many years from now I really just want my family to have great memories and to be proud of me. 

Although I maintain my own personal blog regularly I plan to update on this site as well. For a few years now I've become mildly obsessed with all things bread, and sourdough especially. I do bake from scratch and often make every meal as home made as possible but my passion is baking and fermenting. In addition to being obsessed with bread I also home brew my own meads, wines and beers, and I'm fond of home preserving. The absolute perfect supper to me is a glass of home brewed mead, a loaf of crusty bread and sometimes even a home preserved chutney or jam. So this is my hello I hope to offer something to this lovely bread head community! 


Dearest Regards, 


hanseata's picture

Baking a big batch of NYBakers' test Hermits left me with the question: what to do with the leftovers? There's only a limited amount of gingerbread cookies that two people can eat - especially if it's very hot outside and Christmas still far away. And there was this pretty, unopened bottle of Limoncello, sitting in my pantry since our spring holidays in Positano/Italy, home of gigantic lemons and wonderful pastry.

Since I have not mastered the art of making mille-feuille filled with lemon cream (yet) the next best thing cool I can think of is lemony cheesecake. Using a master cheesecake formula from "Fine Cooking" magazine as guide line, I combined Hermit leftovers and Limoncello in the first American cheesecake I ever made - and it was not at all dense and heavy, but nearly as light as my German Kaesekuchen, and tasted really "cool"!

Limoncello Cheesecake

Link to recipe:


txfarmer's picture

What's better to celebrate July 4th than making/eating Chicago Style stuffed pizza?!

Followed the recipe here, I have been to chicago and ate their famous deep dish/stuffed pizza numerous times, I won't call this "authentic" (in fear of bashing from Chicago natives ), but it's indeed delicious and VERY similar to what I had from famous Chicago eateries.

My parents had no deep dish pizza pan, nor 9'' deep cake pan, so I used an 9" aluminum pan, which is 3" high, worked perfectly. The extra height allowed me to stuff more ingredients inside! My parents usually prefer Asian foods, but they loved this one - Itatlian sausage, shiitaki mushroom, spinach, loads of fresh mozarella cheese, homemade tomato sauce, what's not to love? Despite the long ingredient list, it's actually not hard to make.

For desserts, I made Japanese style light cheesecake, sometimes called "cotton soft cheese cake".

It has a tiny bit of cake flour and corn starch in the batter along with cream cheese, butter, and eggs, lighter and airier than American style cheese cake, yet still rich and moist. I used a Chinese recipe, but this recipe is pretty similar.

hmcinorganic's picture

I haven't made bread in a while;  busy at work and home.  I've been keeping my starter going so yesterday I had some time and threw together my "9's" loaf based on the 123 recipe on this site.  9oz starter, 18 oz water, (9 whole wheat + 9 bread + 9 white flour) and 2 tst salt.  I haven't been getting great gluten development using stretch and fold, so I made this one in the mixer.  Mixed for 4 minutes, let it rest for 30-60 minutes, then four more.  I did 2 stretch and folds over the next 4-8 hours and then let it ferment overnight in the fridge.  I didn't give it long enough to rise this morning before work but threw it in the oven a bit early.  My scoring on the boule is a bit weird.... I was trying to do the tic-tac-toe pattern but cut too deeply I think.  On the batard, the points "melted" off it looks like (I used shears to cut the points).

smells great.  not my best shaping effort though.  rushing.

RobertS's picture

Still working on making a seed culture, using dark rye flour, so I can create my first barm, so I can make my first sourdough loaf. To make a long story short, conflicting information I had read caused two misfires with my first two starters. Both misfires hinged on the problem of knowing for certain when a seed culture has been successfully created. In one source, it said wait for bubbling and doubling. In another source, it said wait for yeasty smell AND doubling. In another source, it said if there is a yeasty smell, it means the yeast are dead!   OK, so I plunged ahead.  Well, on my first starter, I got the doubling and proceeded to next stage, i.e., mixing up a sponge. Nothing whatsoever happened, not even bubbling, for 5 days (not the 4-6 hours I was hoping for!!). On next attempt, I got bubbling and doubling, but understood that was just bacteria action. For 6 days now, nothing further has happened, despite my following instructions faithfully.

Then I whipped up another batch as per BBA seed culture instructions, but ordered in some food pH test strips. Day 3, which is today, I got doubling, and followed Reinhard's instruction to toss 1/2 and feed again, nevertheless. But where, really, really, is this concoction at, anyway, I asked myself? Gas or yeast expansion?  The smell is --- i don't know--- definitely not yeasty, but it is not unpleasant. My nose hasn't told me anything, really. So I dipped in my handy-dandy pH strip and discovered the culture is at 5. And a couple of bubbles are just starting to make their appearance.

Now I KNOW where my culture is at. (Thank you, Debra Wink.) I look forward to tomorrow, when I probably will be ready to make my barm, and definitely will not be tempted to think that maybe any future doubling is bacteria-caused. And yes, I will take another pH reading just to make sure.

I don't know if anyne has used pH strips in their baking, but as for me, I believe they are a great and really cheap tool which I intend to use from now on.




hansjoakim's picture

A very happy (belated) 4th of July to all American TFL'ers!

Weather's been good lately and I've tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible, so I'm sorry for this late post. To make up for it, I had a go at an all-American favourite this sunday: Yes, you guessed it. And what better way to enjoy a juicy burger than with home-made buns? Here's a link to my recipe.

Hamburger buns


My Norwegian take on the American classic:



For breakfast, I was inspired by Karin's post on the quintessential Danish tebirkes (click here for the post on those). It's been years since I last enjoyed that particular breakfast pastry, so her blog post was all the push that I needed to make some of my own. On my last trip to Denmark, I distinctly recall a "whole-grain" version of the tebirkes. The pastry itself was laminated, and it was sprinkled with sesame seeds (instead of the poppy seeds (or "birkes") used to cover tebirkes). I know there's a version of these pastries called grovbirkes, which is essentially "whole-grain birkes", so that could be the proper name for these things... except there's no poppy seeds ("birkes") on them. If someone knows the name of what I'm trying to describe, please chime in!

Anyways... For my version of these mouthwatering breakfast pastries, I used the whole-wheat croissant dough formula from Suas' ABAP. This dough has 25% whole-wheat flour, which gives the pastries an interesting flavour note compared to an ordinary all-white dough. I wouldn't go as far as saying these guys are healthy, but they're awfully tasty. And you probably don't have them every morning either, so I say go for it.

I shaped them as you would ordinary pain au chocolats (leaving out the chocolate, of course), and sprinkled them with linseeds and sesame seeds. A 1kg dough (not counting the 250gr butter used for lamination) gave me eight well-sized pastries. Baked in two batches:



Utterly delicious!! (I apologise for the lack of crumb shot - I brought all along to work for co-workers to enjoy...)


zoltan szabo's picture
zoltan szabo

Hello to everybody,

I never had the opportunity to post anyhing a while now, but I try to keep up myself with the development on this website.

Many of you guys are baking really really nice looking loafs so I would like to promote every1 not to give up the good work! I also spotted that many of yous building wood fired ovens wivh is very inspiring and this time I wish I wouldnt stay in a flat. Anyway.....

Please find below a few pictures from some of my recent bakes, the first picture is a hazelnut loaf, very nice, charactheristic flavour, I roasted the hazelnuts until they where almost really dark brown so the fragrant flavour was quite intense. Also I added a touch of hazelnut oil to it.

The next is my first retarded loaf. I used my usual recipe, posted on the website earlier.



So...... I would like to ask for  some advice and comments about retarding. I made my dough then i left it to proove for 2hrs. Folding after 40min. Then i placed into the fridge until next day morning. I gently removed from the oiled bowl and put into the heavily floured banneton. I let it rest for about 3hrs, then I removed from the prooving basket onto a hot tray and then baked it on 210C.  I noticed that the large air boubles stayed on the top of the loaf. I would like to ask you guys to give me some feedback on my method as well as some advice on how can i move those air pockets so there are everywhere and not just on the top.

Looking forward for the comments!

Thanks and happy baking!



lief's picture

When I came across breadnik's Russian Coriander-Rye recipe, I knew I had to make it! However, I don't do much baking with commercial yeast these days, so I converted the recipe to one that uses a levain. Given my lack of experience with breads that use a large percentage of rye flour and the fact that that I didn't even attempt to make the recipe as stated first seemed a little risky, but I can be fairly adventurous when it comes to baking and cooking :-)

                                                                    The finished product, yum!


I made a few minor modifications to use the ingredients that I had on hand, but the overall amounts of flour and water are very similar to breadnik's recipe.  I should also note that the mother starter I used is a white bread flour starter, since I do not currently maintain a rye starter.

Starter build 1: (fermented for ~11.5 hours)
mother starter (bread flour based @55% hydration) 14g
dark rye flour 22g
water 12g

Starter build 2: (fermented for ~5 hours)
starter 1 (from first build) 48g
dark rye flour 50g
water 28g

Final dough: (fermented ~10.5 hours)
starter 2 (from second build) 126g
dark rye flour 194g
white bread flour 80g
spelt flour 80g
vital wheat gluten 80g
sea salt 12g
ground coriander seeds 4g
honey 60g
molasses 60g
canola oil 30g
water 234g

1) Bring the starter to maturity in 2 builds. Due to the lack of gluten in the rye flour, the starter doesn't really expand like I'm used to so it is difficult for me to gauge the starter maturity. The fermentation times I used were fairly similar to what I might use for a non-rye flour dough.

2) For the final dough, mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk to ensure a good distribution. I was feeling too lazy to grind up coriander seeds, so I just used pre-ground coriander from the spice rack. Add the levain then the wet ingredients, with the water last, as specified in breadnik's original recipe.

3) Mix the dough until ingredients are combined and all flour is hydrated. Autolyse for 20 minutes. Strictly speaking, I'm not sure this step can be called an autolyse, because the levain and salt are both in the dough. However, it still helps to develop the gluten.

4) Knead the dough for 20 minutes. It will NOT pass the window pane test. Perhaps this is a useless test for high percentage rye breads? The dough should be a little tacky. It is also quite stiff and difficult to knead.

5) Let the dough ferment! I let the dough ferment for almost 10 hours after kneading. This seems on the long side to me, but as I mentioned earlier, it is difficult for me to tell when this dough has reached maturity. Any comments on good maturity indicators for high percentage rye breads?

6) Shape the dough into two small batards and immediately refrigerate. I refrigerated for almost 8 hours.

7) Remove the batards from the refrigerator to let them warm and proof. In this case, I let it go for five hours! Again this seemed long to me, but I was able to apply the "poke test" to this dough and it didn't seem unreasonable from that perspective.

8) Spritz the batards with water and sprinkle them with slightly crushed coriander seeds. Then put them in the oven, preheated to 410-415F (my oven is not that accurate). I used a baking stone and steam, but the steam may not be necessary since the batards were spritzed with water. After 10 minutes, remove the steaming device and turn the oven down to 380F. Rotate the batards after another 10 minutes.

9) After 37 minutes of total bake time, remove the batards from the oven and allow them to cool (somewhat) before devouring ;-) This bake time may have been a little high as some parts of the bread seemed a bit darker and crustier than it should be.

Despite all of the uncertainty I had around the timing of this bread, it turned out great. The taste is complex, somewhat sweet, and all delicious. Not much oven spring. The crumb is fairly dense (sorry, no photo), but not as dense as most rye breads I have had. This is the second time I've made this bread and I'm fairly certain it will be popping out of my oven very now and then for a long time to come.


The original recipe that breadnik posted can be found here:

jombay's picture

Here are my sourdough croissants from Daniel Leader's Local Breads. It's the nicest croissant dough I have worked with thus far.




Baker's Percentage

Whole Milk

Liquid Levain

Instant Yeast

300 gms

100 gms

15 gms




Unbleached AP flour

500 gms


Unsalted Butter (for dough)

60 gms


Granulated Sugar

15 gms



Unsalted Butter (for roll in)

10 gms

200 gms






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